I'm surprised that none of the responses said anything like "That's why you're not s'posed to fly it beyond line of site."
I think the battery died faster than normal because you were flying it against a strong wind.
When ever your battery get's to just above 50% you must return it to the launch point and put on a fresh battery. Even if you had 20 miles radio control range, you still can never go farther than 50% of the battery bc you have to have enough to get back. Like driving your boat out to sea and using more than 1/2 your fuel going OUT away from land. You're guaranteed to run out of fuel before you reach land again... Only you can't call the Coastguard when you're a drone in the sky.
My Skydio would never get lost like that because it's range is only about 250 feet. sadly. I feel like I got pimped on it.
I did let the battery run out deliberately one time to see what it would do. It said the battery was too weak and that it was landing, and it did land right where it was at. of course I was trying to see what it would do if the battery ran out, so I was letting it hover about 8 feet off the ground, not flying it to somewhere so it was already over stable ground, a parking lot, and it was only 3 parking spaces away from me.
Usually when it loses connection, it returns to "home" - launch point. One time when it lost connection it started following some random girl. I had to walk to it to get close enough to reconnect. When I caught up to it, the girl was sitting in a swing and the drone was 20 directly above her head. I reconnected to it and told it to return to launch point. I probably should have explained to the girl that it was an accident and it only followed her her because it's default out of the box design is to follow someone. Every time you 1st power it on it says "Tracking mode" really not cool. It should wait for you to put it in tracking mode. I think the girl got creeped out BC she left the park almost immediately.
Whenever I launch the drone the 1st thing I always do it put it in hover mode to prevent it from following some random car down the road and out of range. While it is s'pose to either stop or return to launch point when it loses connection. The experience with the girl in the park proves there's no guarantee of WTF it will do. If My drone ever decided to follow a random car down the road, well There's $1200 flying down the road that I'll never see again.
In Ketches case it sounds like he was doing everything he could think of to try to lose the drone, from flying beyond the batteries 1/2 way point before trying to return guaranteeing it will have to crash - or emergency land short of the launch point, flying backwards so you have no idea where you are at at any time, flying against heavy winds with no GPS to guarantee it not knowing where it is or where to go and that it will be blown where ever the wind wants to take it.
I had a $50 drone with no GPS. the SLIGHTEST BREEZE would blow it very quickly away in the direction of the wind. I launched it and it immediately started flying very quickly away form my I held BACK FULL Throttle and it kept going farther and farter away toward a highway and a metal scrapyard beyond that.
I dropped power to the throttle. (there is no "landing" function, you just lower the power until it slowly falls where you want it to land) It Looked like it crashed inside the park, I even SAW where it went down, but I never could find it.
I had given up and was starting to write a note to w/e random kids find the controller telling them the drone was "out there in that direction, Good luck." and was going to leave the controller on a bench for kids to find. Then a friend showed up, he walked out in "that direction" and spotted it right off. amazing. I still should have left it for some random kids bc I never even wanted to fly it again after that.
Then I bought a $100 one that is a scaled down clone of a DJI, looks just like a DJI only smaller and does not have GPS. it fights the slight breeze a little better but still gets blown around with the wind.
What I learned, them cheap no GPS having drones ae for indoors only like a gymnasium or an empty warehouse.
I realized I needed to spend real money on a real drone to do what I wanted or even be able to fly it w/o losing it or losing control of it. In that regard my Skydio has NOT disappointed. It tells me if the wind is too strong but still comes back to me so I can land it.